June 4, 2021
Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir, chief of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, says she wants to keep information being gathered on graves containing 215 children on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops within their community, for now.
And the former chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee is blasting the RCMP for the way they have started their investigation.
“I want to make it clear, this is very early days for us,” said Casimir during a brief press conference.
“There are things we are not going to disclose until we have the chance to connect within our own community, (that) is grieving.
“They still have the presence of those children in their community, so we just want you to be very aware of what we’re dealing with here.”
The Indian residential schools – which hold a wide reputation for sheltering generations of depravity – operated for over a century as a partnership between the Canadian government and major churches. The last school closed its doors in 1996.
“Many of you have been respectful about consent because, again, we need to maintain control here. Not because it’s about our egos, it’s because it’s so sensitive in nature,” said Casimir.
Former chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee and retired senator Murray Sinclair told a House of Commons committee on Thursday, the RCMP will be conducting a major investigation into the discovery of children’s remains at former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
“They are now beginning to question those who have made this story available,” said Sinclair.
“Unfortunately, in a typical heavy handed and ham handed police way, they are simply intimidating people, rather than helping them, and I think we need to have a discussion with the police about how they are handling it.
“The young lady who was the one who did the research on the ground-penetrating radar, for example, was quite scared of the approach that the RCMP have taken with her … and I don’t blame her. My advice to her and others had been to make sure that she has legal counsel available to her so that she is not mistreated going forward.”
Sinclair also said there are too many unanswered questions, such the number of burial sites in Canada, how many children are buried in them, and where they are located.